Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, will receive the Janie S. Benner Memorial Spirit Award tonight at the 12th annual Scleroderma Foundation “Key to a Cure Gala” in the Manhattan Beach Marriott Hotel.
Assemblywoman Runner, diagnosed as being among the more than 300,000 Americans afflicted by the chronic, degenerative autoimmune disease, is being recognized for her work in increasing public awareness and support for research. Scleroderma appears as a hardening of connective tissue due to an overproduction of collagen. There is no way to screen for the disease, and there is no cure. About 80 percent of its victims are women.
Earlier this year, Assemblywoman Runner authored Assembly Concurrent Resolution 142, for the first time proclaiming Scleroderma Awareness Month in California. She said ACR-142, “sought to promote a state-wide discussion on scleroderma, and the need for more research to improve patient care for those living with the disease.”
The Janie S. Benner Memorial Spirit Award is presented annually in memory of the scleroderma victim and volunteer leader who merged two separate scleroderma groups into the Scleroderma Foundation, and who led the united front to the next level of non-profit professionalism.
Brian R. Adams, executive director of the Scleroderma Foundation Southern California Chapter, said, “The Scleroderma Foundation is proud to recognize Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, not only for her groundbreaking work in the California Assembly, but also for her efforts in bringing greater awareness to scleroderma- a chronic auto-immune disease that is devastating for people who suffer from it. Assemblywoman Runner has become a wonderful friend of the Foundation and we appreciate her support, good humor and ‘can do’ spirit!”
Assemblywoman Runner said, “I am deeply honored to be recognized for my contribution, and I want to thank the Scleroderma Foundation for their dedication in reaching for a cure, and also the family of Janie S. Benner for their lasting testimonial to her life and work.”
Also to be honored at the gala are Kerry Hall of U.S. Bank, recipient of the Spirit of Leadership Award, and Christina Burger of UCLA, receiving the Inspirational Spirit Award.